BI Mobile Labs
Opinions expressed by the authors of this blog are entirely their own and do not reflect the position of Oracle or any other corporation. Any advice or recommendations discussed on these sites (or sites they link to) are not validated by Oracle.

Smashing Bugs…

OK even with all this Oracle Open World stuff going on the team has been busy smashing bugs in our current Android App.  If you have not noticed an update yet from the Google Play Store you should have it soon.  This contains 100% bug fixes and address a date issue that we think was impacting some folks with non-US date formats.

3 Things You Probably Did Not Know About our Android App

Our Android App is pretty new for us, but in mobile terms is has been out for a long time (8 months or so).  With that I thought I would share 3 cool features that I bet you did not know about our app.

1 - You can ‘Tap to Share’ reports and connections.

Our app uses NFC (Android Beam) to allow users to quickly share report or even connections.  Here is how it works:

  1. Open a report or dashboard or even a connection
  2. Tap the NFC to another Android phone with NFC and our app installed.
  3. Beam the content to the new device.

2 - You can search and open content with your voice. 

In the application just tap the search icon from any browsing screen and then tap the mic to speak your search.  This is great for reports you use all the time.

3 - You can search and open content without even opening our app.

We have integrated with Google search on your device so when enabled you can search for BI content right from your phones home screen.

You can see it in action here:

Here is a post on setting it up:

Just some bugs…

You may have noticed an iOS update for our BI Mobile app yesterday.  Nothing to really worry about, just some bug fixes.  Pretty isolated stuff that most of our users won’t hit these bugs, but we felt it was important enough so ‘smash’ them right away, and not wait for our next feature release.

Get Immersed in BI

BI is about data and visualizations so we think that our app’s chrome and controls should get our of your way when you are working with your data.  We did this from the start with Android.

And now we are working to give you this same experience in our iOS apps.  

We are woking hard on our next update and this is something we hope to deliver.  For now consider this lab work and remember:

Opinions expressed by the authors of this blog are entirely their own and do not reflect the position of Oracle or any other corporation. Any advice or recommendations discussed on these sites (or sites they link to) are not validated by Oracle.

Latest iOS Update

You may have noticed our app store update today, or if you are an enterprise customer you may have noticed a new version of our Security Toolkit for iOS.

Aside from the long list of bug fixes and general enhancements there were a number of key updates:

  • Improved Thumbnail Previews. On the iPad, thumbnail previews now refresh every time the analysis is opened. This eliminates the need to remove the app in order to clear stale previews. NOTE: For performance reasons, if a preview is less than five minutes old, it is not updated.
  • Security Toolkit Enhancement. Now when you get the security toolkit, you also get a sample XCode project along with it.
  • Mobile Layout. By default, analyses and dashboards open with the desktop layout on the iPad. There is now an option that allows you to toggle to the mobile layout. The layout applies to each analysis or dashboard individually, and persists for the duration the analysis or dashboard remains open. Tap Options, then tap Mobile Layout.

  • “All Column Values” Option for Prompts. For prompts that support the ‘All Column’ selection option, this is now available in Oracle BI Mobile. In the prompts drop down, tap All Column Values to select all options at once.

We have some great stuff planned for this fall so stay tuned!!

We’ve talked about the Google Search integration, now let’s see it in action!

First, we need to verify your version of the Google Search client.  Simply scroll to the bottom of your card stream and select the 3-dot menu (action overflow) in the lower right-hand corner.  Select the option that says, ‘Help & feedback’.  The next screen will show your version at the top.  In order to take advantage of the Google Search integration, you’ll need a client version of 3.6 or later.  Google is in the midst of rolling out updates, so don’t worry if you haven’t received it yet. Check the Play Store daily, and you should see the updated client very shortly (if you don’t already have it).

Once we’ve verified we have the correct version, the next step is to enable integration with Google Search.  In the latter portion of the video, you see we once again navigate to the bottom of our card stream in Google Now and select the 3-dot menu (action overflow).  This time, we select the ‘Settings’ option.  On the next screen, we see an entry titled ‘Phone Search’- that’s the one we’re after.  Once selected, we are now presented with a dialog that has a series of checkboxes- each entry representing an app that has Google Search integration.  By default, 3rd-party apps such as Oracle BI Mobile are not enabled. This is done to allow the user complete control over his or her data.  Simply check the box next to Oracle BI Mobile and we’re now all set to enjoy the Google Search integration goodness.

Google Search Integration in Oracle BI Mobile for Android

We’ve got an update today that I’m particularly excited about- Google Search integration!   What does this mean exactly?  It means that you will now be able to search for your most heavily used BI content using Google Search on your device without having to open the Oracle BI app first.

There’s a simple piece of setup required, but fear not, we’ve got a video to walk you through the process and another video to demonstrate how the feature will appear on your device.

Items will become searchable as they are consumed, so as you normally browse and open content, those items will then become searchable in your Google Search app.  What’s more, we’ve leveraged Google’s search suggestion API so you’ll be able to see your items by typing just the first few characters- no need to tap out the entire name.

The goal behind this feature is to make accessing your content as low friction as possible. What better way to do that than to provide integration directly into your device’s Google Search?

Oracle BI Mobile for Android Refresh

Last week we updated our Android app with a few key features and lots of bug fixes.

Key Updates:

  • Support for action links, including action link navigation history

  • Support for dashboard sections

  • Support for Briefing Books
  • Add to Favorites now at the dashboard-page level

  • Location support on maps in dashboards
  • Bug fixes

I’ll keep this short because we are busy working on a bunch of good stuff…

The Future of Android and Mobile BI: An Analysis of Google I/O 2014

For those that keep abreast with the latest ongoings with Android, Google I/O is an event eagerly anticipated each year.  What new features will be announced?  And more importantly, what sort of sweet hardware will be handed out to attendees?

This year’s Google I/O represented the greatest fundamental change in Android since the platform’s inception.  Google announced (and gave away to attendees) Android Wear devices, the Android One program for emerging markets, an entirely new design language for both mobile and web called ‘Material Design’, and offered developers a preview of the next major version of Android, simply named Android L at this point (I’m pulling for Lollipop to be the next name in Android’s line of confectionary-inspired version names).

Our Android Mobile BI team has been hungrily digesting all the information put forth at the event, and the areas that we see being the most impactful to Mobile BI going forward include Android Wear, the sea change that is Material Design, and lastly, a feature of Android L that has not been officially confirmed, but exists in whisper form as something called ‘Nearby’.

Android Wear in any other year would have been the runaway star of the show.  A couple months prior, Google released its SDK for wearables, but I/O represented the first time people were able to shroud their wrists in the new devices.  What is Android Wear?  Android Wear is a slimmed down version of Android that allows notifications from your paired phone to be surfaced on your watch.  In addition, Android Wear also offers support for standalone apps present on the watch itself.  From a BI perspective, the most prescient feature is the ability to surface notifications.  We have a few new features in mind that will allow the user to be alerted of changes to data or the availability of new data via the wearable device.  The goal will be to make data come to the user in a timely fashion versus the user needing to search for it.

Material Design is something that bears special mention.  Historically, Android has been panned for its UI/UX (user interface and user experience).  This largely due to the fact that Android is open source and Google allows OEMs to customize much of the software running on the device.  This has led in many instances to a very fractured experience from device to device, OEM to OEM.  Samsung is by far the most popular Android device maker, but is also the one that strays the furthest from Google’s design guidelines, and, in many cases, create (in the author’s opinion) an inferior user experience.  With the introduction of Material Design, Google seems to be raising the design bar to such a level that they are effectively daring OEMs to do something different at the expense of looking clumsy and dated by comparison.  Our design and dev team is taking the principles of Material Design to heart and has some pretty ambitious plans for realizing them in the Mobile BI app.

In recent years, Google has released a ‘Halo’ device in the fall as the flagship for the next version of Android via the Nexus line of devices. This year,developers were treated instead to a preview of the next version of Android, simply referred to as Android L.  Android L contains many, many new features.  The feature that the Mobile BI team is most excited about has not been officially confirmed, but is known to Android sleuthers as ‘Nearby’.  In short, the Nearby feature in Android L will allow your device to be aware when it is near certain people, or rather, their devices.  The potential impact for such a feature is incredible across the entire spectrum of mobile apps, but for Mobile BI in particular, we’ve got several ideas we’re prototyping that can leverage this capability (when it surfaces, hopefully this fall).  Everything from making sharing even easier to having contextual triggers based on a certain person’s proximity to preload a certain report- the possibilities are really tremendous.

This year’s I/O has really gotten the team excited about the future of Android; stay tuned for updates to the Android Mobile BI app.  We’ve got many new features in store.